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'He had it won in two strides' - Gosden's Mishriff powers home in French Derby

Mishriff and Ioritz Mendizabal land the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly on Sunday
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The Classic trainers dream of unearthing their next three-year-old stars and, while the competitor in John Gosden will have been naturally disappointed to see Enable beaten at Sandown, the revelation of Mishriff as a genuine Group 1 horse in storming to success in the Prix du Jockey Club will have been cause for real satisfaction. 

In doing so he returned veteran jockey Ioritz Mendizabal – so long a favourite with visiting trainers in search of local knowledge – to the big-race limelight. 

A homebred son of owner Prince Faisal's Poule d'Essai des Poulains hero Make Believe, Mishriff travelled well into the race but looked briefly to be trapped behind a wall of horses, before Mendizabal eased his way to the outside and Mishriff seized his chance decisively.

The Summit reversed placings from the French Guineas with favourite Victor Ludorum but once again was left in the wake of a classy winner.

"The jockey rode him exactly like we discussed this morning," said Gosden. "We wanted to sit handy to the pace and wait for the split. Chantilly is not the easiest track to ride and you get a lot of strange races there as they steady it up around the bend and you can't change your position."

It was a particularly sweet success for the winning owner, who won the 1990 Prix de Diane at Chantilly with the Willie Carson-ridden Rafha, Mishriff’s maternal great-grandam.

"He's got a good attitude and I thought his last 100 metres were his best of the whole race," said Gosden. "The owner-breeder Prince Faisal was very keen to go for the Prix du Jockey Club and he's been proved correct."

With plenty of movement in the Arc market caused by events at Sandown and Epsom, Coral inserted Mishriff as a 10-1 chance for Longchamp. 

Gosden said: "We'll have to see how he comes out of the race and have a talk with the jockey about what he thinks, and fortunately his English is better than my French, and then take it from there. On pedigree you'd think he'd stay at this trip but he didn't look like he was stopping either."

Ioritz Mendizabal celebrates after riding Mishriff to big-race victory at Chantilly

Mendizabal came in for the ride in place of the luckless David Egan, who is retained by Prince Faisal but was prevented by the quarantine situation from travelling.

The 46-year-old is hardly the most fashionable rider in the French weighing room these days but has remained a firm favourite with Newmarket trainers whose memory that goes back a way such as Gosden, Michael Bell and Sir Mark Prescott.

"To put the race away in two strides like that, he must be a real crack. That's a second Jockey Club after Vision D'Etat in 2008 and I must thank Prince Faisal and John Gosden for placing their trust in me," said Mendizabal. 

"That is a big plus for a jockey and when I read Mr Gosden's comments this morning that made me more confident."

Sixth-placed Maxime Guyon lodged an objection after Mendizabal took no risks in extricating himself but the Chantilly stewards were satisfied that Pao Alto would not have finished ahead of Mishriff, although they did suspend the winning jockey for four days.

Mendizabal said: "I was told and I saw on the videos of his races that he carries his head quite low and I just needed to gather him together halfway up the home straight. 

"But when he picked up, he had it won in two strides."

Andre Fabre had expressed concern beforehand that Victor Ludorum’s somewhat cold demeanour early in a race could be a problem from stall one and he almost certainly paid the price for a slow start, with Mickael Barzalona forced to circle the entire field before coming widest in the straight. 

The Summit will have thrilled his new Chinese owners and fully vindicated the decision to step up in trip. 

"The big question was whether he would get the trip but he proved he stayed and he ran a great race," said trainer Alex Pantall. "He had a lovely trip and was very brave but he ran into one there."

Read more:

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The owner-breeder Prince Faisal was very keen to go for the Prix du Jockey Club and he's been proved correct
E.W. Terms